Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Nightingall was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a person with a good singing voice. The name is a metaphor likening the original bearer of the name to the nocturnal songbird called a nightingale. Its name is derived from the Old English words niht, meaning night, and galan, meaning to sing.
Early Origins of the Nightingall family
Norfolk where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Nightingall family
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Nightingall Spelling Variations
spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Nightingale, Nightingall, Nightengale and others.
Early Notables of the Nightingall family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Nightingall family to Ireland
Some of the Nightingall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Nightingall family to the New World and Oceana
Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Nightingall or a variant listed above: Thomas Nightingale, who came to Virginia in 1648; Kathleen Nitingale settled in Virginia with her husband in 1649; Henry Nightingale, who came to Charleston in 1792.
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